Committee Leaders Urge Protection of American Shippers from Unjust Shipping Practices Resulting from COVID-19 Pandemic
Today, bipartisan leaders of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation called on the Federal Maritime Commission to ensure that ocean carriers are abiding by U.S. law and are not engaging in unjust and unreasonable shipping practices resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chair Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO), Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Chair Salud Carbajal (D-CA), and Subcommittee Ranking Member Bob Gibbs (R-OH) highlighted their concerns about disruptions in the maritime supply chain as a result of the pandemic, how many ocean carriers have prioritized higher value foreign goods over U.S. agricultural products, and asked questions in a letter to Michael A. Khouri, Chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission.
“These carriers have elected to ship empty containers back to foreign ports while increasing charges on agricultural exports up to $500 per container to China and other Asian countries, resulting in limited shipping capacity for U.S. farm exporters,” the Transportation and Infrastructure leaders wrote. “This has led to widespread spoilage of produce and threatens not only the financial wellbeing of our farmers, but also the reliability of our domestic agriculture industry as an international trade partner, the delivery schedules for other intermodal components of the supply chain, the lifeblood of our rural communities, and the broader U.S. economy.”
The full letter can be found here.